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 Post subject: House Rules
PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 4:20 pm 
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Good day gentlemen
as I had a request regarding my "House Rules" Thread for JTS/HPS at the NWC I thought it might be good to put up such a thread here too.
I would have done that already but currently I don't really see the need for it, still it would be good to start a discussion to see if there are any holes in the engine & rules that could be exploited and so need a House Rule.


Now at the NWC I have currently just 3 House Rules collected:
- one regarding night combat(as there is no night fatigue OR in the Napi series)
- one regarding night movement(as there is no night fatigue OR in the Napi series)
- one regarding a casualty limit to prevent player from fighting till the last men.


As the Civil War series has an Optional Rule that adds night fatigue when doing anything in a night turn there seems to be no need for the 1st & 2nd house rule covering night combat and movement.
Still it would be interesting to know how common or uncommon night combat & movement was during the Civil War, can anyone provide some information about this?


The 3rd House Rule fosters the use of a casualty limit to prevent players from simply "shredding" their forces, historically a casualty rate of not more than 30% was reached in most big battle of the Napoleonic Wars.
Now if this is necessary here too has to be seen as fatigue recovery is much much slower in the Civil War series and so naturally limits extensive combat and with it extensive casualties.
Still a view at the biggest battles and there casualty rates is need to see if the casualties in the games are too high compared to history and so would confirm that a House Rule for a casualty limit is need.
While I found a lot overall casualty figures for the biggest battles I couldn't find any specific casualty rates(%) that compare each side forces with their casualties in these battles, can anyone provide this info or knows where I can find it?

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 Post subject: Re: House Rules
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 9:34 am 
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There was night combat during the Civil War but it usually was at dusk when fighting just failed to stop and at dawn when the commanders tried to get in the earliest possible attack. It usually didn't go well for the attackers especially for dusk/night attacks even if they were successful against the defenders. They usually became so disorganized that any gain was impossible to exploit.

The HPS games to some degree do restrict night attacks mainly due to the disrupted if you move in line and the optional fatigue penalty for meleeing at night. There is a problem regarding column movement at night in Turn mode.

Casualty comparisons are rather difficult depending on how you interpret HPS casualties. Casualties reported in actual Civil War battles are the total of killed, wounded and captured. They don't represent the loss of effective combat troops due to desertion, straggling, and just getting lost from their regiments. If you take the view that HPS casualties represent all types of losses from effective troops (those willing to line up still and fight) then the high casualty rates we see in games are justified and in theory 100% casualties does represent a real result. If you view the HPS casualties as just kills, captured and wounded then the numbers are much to high relative historic results.

Putting a percentage limit on the number of casualties that can be taken before one side automatically loses is a little difficult. CSA Armies were able to absorb a lot more damage before they gave up than Union armies for various reasons. The best system I have seen for putting a cap on losses was implemented in Wellington's Victory through the use of Army Morale which decreased steadily as casualties accumulated. When the Army Morale hit zero then bad things started happening to the Army. I have forgotten the interval but I think it was an hour the morale of all units was decreased a level each time until basically the whole army's unit reached "F" level and all routed away. This system however would have to be implemented by HPS/JTS.

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 Post subject: Re: House Rules
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:25 pm 
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My opponent suggested a house rule:

- No melee from column except at bridges.

I thought melee from column wouldn't work at all but I checked it and the players can indeed conduct a melee out of the column formation.
Was the column formation in the Civil War used for anything else but movement?

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 Post subject: Re: House Rules
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 11:01 pm 
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It seems a lot of club members support the house rule your opponent suggested.

I am not one of them.

The problem is that columns all move at road movement rate. But Civil War assault columns were too wide to use the road.

I play phase. My problem with the house rule is that if a column stumbles into an enemy unit, it takes defensive fire and then offensive fire before it can react.

I think a lot depends on what scenario you are playing and how much cavalry you have for scouting, assuming you play that option. But I
don't use that house rule.

As to night combat, here is a link to the one true night attack I am aware of.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Wauhatchie

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 Post subject: Re: House Rules
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2015 1:58 am 
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Well I think the intention is that you not deliberately use column to close in fast(faster than line movement would allow) and simply melee.
But the quest stays what to do when you stumble into a rebel road block or something like that and your unit is in column formation, not being allowed to melee seems a bit harsh as the column unit can't fire and so can't do any combat for one turn.
On the other hand if you know how it plays out in such a situation you have to scout ahead with the assets you have.

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 Post subject: Re: House Rules
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2015 7:42 am 
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We seem to be reinventing the wheel here. This no column melee thing is already so embedded that most members will not play without it. I agree with Mike. I once ran into an enemy unit --a battery in column--that was retreating toward my rear--go figure--and when I meleed and captured him I was accused of cheating. I guess the situation should be, you stop and sit there, and wait for him to go into battery on his turn, and then blow you away. In four years of testing, with some of the most experienced players around, the issue of meleeing in column never came up. If it is supposed to act as a penalty for not being careful enough in your march, it is a bit extreme.
For night combat, refer to Cleburne's late attack on Sept 19th (today!) at Chickamauga, or Wauhatchie, which should not count because it was fought under brilliant moonlight. Usually it was as Ken says, either a dusk or dawn matter, and it was always messy!
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 Post subject: Re: House Rules
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2015 8:18 am 
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The problem with column formation in HPS is it wears to many hats. It represents at various times route column and column of companies. It takes fire like it is a column of companies with only a small penalty but marches like it is in route formation. Part of this problem comes from the length of the game turn, 20 minutes, in which a regiment should be able to do all kinds of things to avoid actually being caught in route column and the defender also should be able to do all kinds of things to keep a column from ever coming near them.

So you have problems like those mentioned. Why can't a column melee a battery in column it runs into? How in the world would a column of infantry ever catch up with a horse drawn battery? What commander would every march a route column directly into a line infantry? If it did why didn't that regiment immediately disappear from the face of the earth after receiving the first full volley from a two rank regimental line? How do you cross a bridge in a game that only allows two formations and only the column can do it when the bridge is blocked by infantry in line?

The game designer can't use one minute turns so he fudges. The regiment never really has to act like its in route column the whole 20 minutes under fire so it defense factor for column doesn't fully reflect the situation. But because column allows units to do things offensively they just shouldn't be able to do, the player compromise of not allowing it to melee was the best solution to an impossible problem. If someone at HPS/JT decide to give us two formations, assault column and route column, then we won't need such a fudge but until then it is be best of the poor solutions.

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 Post subject: Re: House Rules
PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 5:20 pm 
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Fwiw: "Someone at (JTS) decide to give us two formations, assault column and route column..."

That 'someone' is going to be John Tiller, as what you are talking about is an engine change, and a pretty big one at that -but you know, if it hadn't been asked before, I think I would be willing to put that out there -although granted the project that I am working on is not American Civil War related so it is probably sort of a moot point in the context of this specific conversation.

It would probably be a pretty big engine change too, so I wouldn't be holding my breath on it going through. Off the top of my head the additional coding would involve, adding in PDT lines, and graphics changes for the new formation as well -so it would be pretty major -maybe too major (but not as major as some). That plus I don't actually have many engine change ideas (based upon the context of what I am assigned to ... qualifier) -well nothing major.

One thing though - there is absolutely no reason to include HPS in all of these conversations, particularly about engine changes - as HPS has -never- been involved in the development of these games. HPS has only ever been a publisher. They haven't even had that role in about 5 years now -in other words, if you are actually serious about looking into getting something done - you have to deal with John Tiller Software. I am not saying this to be pedantic, but rather because I have been working with them for awhile now and it is the way it is.

Stating it any other way, like by feeling some need to continually include 'HPS' in topics, muddies things up for no reason. It also can throw off anyone coming at the topic as new, and worse ... implies that the author, when using that term knows something, and I am not saying that it isn't so in every case ... just not this one.

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 Post subject: Re: House Rules
PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 5:28 pm 
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I understand completely about HPS's role, however, there is a very definite distinction between games published in the HPS era and the JTS era. All along JTS has been the driving force in these games, but some members have only HPS sold titles, while others have BOTH HPS sold and JTS sold (or updated).

Most members know the situation, but use HPS as a matter of rote.

So, I think it is become a generic term "HPS games."

I am sure we all really appreciate your role in the games and with the SDC, which is a continuing source of information.

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